FAISALABAD: Three people were taken into custody after unidentified assailants opened fire at a church and set its main gate ablaze in Faisalabad’s Mohallah Noorpur Chak.
According to reports, the group of assailants came on motorbikes in Mohallah Noorpur Chak on street 11 in the remits of Sadar police station. They set set the main gate of the church on fire at approximately 2am and opened fire at the church, causing damage to its windowpanes.
Three people were taken into custody following the attack.
“The persons who have been taken into custody were witnessed to be running away after opening fire at the church gate," Station House Officer of the area told The Express Tribune.
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Alarmed by the sound of the attack, the church’s priest rushed to the site of the attack. However, the assailants had managed to flee from the area by then. As news of the attack spread, locals arrived at the scene and threw water to extinguish the fire.
Church cleric Dilawar Masih, while speaking to the media said that "due to firing on church, the Christian community came under heavy stress and chaos."
"Though no human loss was reported in this incident, attackers gave a clear-cut message that Christians and their places of worship are not safe and they may be attacked any time by the terrorists," he added.
A heavy police contingent-- who arrived at the scene once the news was received-- found five empty bullet cases at the scene. The bullets were taken in police custody and further investigation is under way.
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"The motive behind the attack was personal enmity. It is not an act of terrorism," Station House Officer (SHO) Sadar police station Malik Muhammad Jahangir Khan said.
"We have also taken into custody three persons who were allegedly involved in this incident and asked the church administration to file a formal complaint so as the case may be registered as per their satisfaction," the SHO said.
Police were told by the church administration that "they are also collecting various facts and evidences while making counter efforts to ascertain the real culprits," the SHO added.